Nigeria’s Union Bank and the Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) have partnered to launch the Centenary Innovation Challenge, which marks the bank’s 100th anniversary and is aimed at providing support to tech startups.
The challenge is aimed at businesses and ideas in the areas of financial inclusion, education and agriculture, with applications open until May 19.
A total of 10 startups will be selected to take part in an intensive bootcamp aimed at helping them develop their ideas. The startups will then pitch to a panel of experts, with three winning companies sharing a total of NGN4.5 million (US$15,000) in prize money.
“As an institution we are taking the lead in tackling social problems in communities where we do business in a sustainable way. Last year, we kicked off our first ever internal innovation challenge in the bank, and we are currently working on implementing the transformational ideas that came through that would allow us provide the simplest and smartest solutions, making our customers’ lives better,” said Union Bank chief executive officer (CEO) Emeka Emuwa.
“We also believe that we cannot tackle these social problems alone which is why today we are partnering with the CcHub to launch the Centenary Innovation Challenge.”
Bosun Tijani, co-founder and CEO at CcHub, said over the last seven years his hub had seen that there are very few credible platforms to leverage to build sustainable businesses in Nigeria.
“This partnership with Union Bank for the Centenary Innovation Challenge is important to us, especially in implementing platforms that can help us provide solutions for our communities and the country as a whole,” he said
“Over 98 per cent of support we get is derived from outside Nigeria, so this relationship with Union Bank is our first with a Nigerian financial institution. Clearly, this is a commitment that we would want other reputable institutions to emulate.”
Meanwhile, CcHub has also announced the CcHUB Diaspora Challenge, which aims to engage scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators from the diaspora community in the United Kingdom (UK) to source scalable business solutions to social challenges in Africa.
This project will be launched on May 6 at the Facebook offices in London, and will be attended by high profile professionals from various industry sectors. The closing date for submissions is June 30.